How to Reclaim Precious Metals from Computers and Sell as Scrap
Motherboards and the circuit boards mounted on them, such as memory cards, video cards and sound cards, as well as the CPU and other chips that live inside computers contain precious metals such as gold, platinum and silver, plus metals like rhodium, palladium and copper.
Many of these metals can be reclaimed and recycled. Though there are procedures using aqua regia, smelting and other potentially dangerous, expensive or toxic techniques, one need not actually do the extraction to reclaim the precious metals from computers.
Safely Handle Computer Parts to Remove Circuit Boards With Precious Metals
To recover the silver, platinum and gold from computer parts, remove the pieces containing the precious metal. This involves disassembling the computer, a possibly daunting but not impossible task.
As a safety note, when you take the computer apart, make sure never to handle the power supply. Don’t let children touch or play with any of the computer parts.
Wipe the hard drive of personal or private data. If the computer was used in a business, be sure to comply with all local and federal laws about disposal of sensitive information contained on computer hard drives.Unplug the computer.Using a screwdriver, unplug the computer case and remove the motherboard, complete with the memory card, sound card, video card and any other circuit boards that may be attached. The CPU and other chips are also mounted on the motherboard and circuit boards.Place the motherboard in a container away from children and pets. Save this to send to a precious metal refinery.Dispose of the rest of the computer, which may contain hazardous materials such as sulfur, mercury, and arsenic, by recycling it through a computer recycling center. The Environmental Protection Agency lists places to donate or recycle old computer parts.
Recover the Precious Metals in Computers Through a Refinery
Refineries have minimum lot sizes of electronics scrap they will accept. The amount of precious metals one can reclaim in each computer is small, but together, they add up.
Once you have a large lot of motherboards to recycle, you’re ready to contact a precious metal refinery for instructions for sending the computer parts. Not all precious metal refineries accept computer scrap, and some refineries only accept circuit board scrap from industrial clients. The refinery fee should be stated outright and will usually be subtracted from the payment you receive. Regarding payment:
Ask for payment by check or wire transfer if you want cash for the precious metals.Some precious metal refineries allow you to open a pool account for investment purposes.If you prefer to sell the gold, silver or platinum yourself, or want to keep the precious metals as an investment, some refineries will send you the actual bullion.
More Than Just Motherboards Contain Gold, Platinum and Silver
Circuit boards and chips located on the computer motherboard contain the bulk of precious metals in computers. There are also small quantities of precious metals in computer batteries, printed circuit boards (such as backplanes), and integrated circuits.
Unless you have a great volume, you may want to donate these other parts, with their trace amounts of gold and other metals, to recycling centers; some parts may not be accepted by all refineries, as the metal extraction can be more difficult and expensive than the process of reclaiming precious metals from regular circuit boards.
Get Cash By Reclaiming Precious Metals from Computer Circuit Boards
A reclaimer of precious metals in computers need not know how to extract gold from electronics. To get cash for a stash of old computers, merely remove the motherboard from each computer, keeping safety considerations in mind, then send the scrap to a precious metals refinery for recovery of the silver, gold, platinum and other valuable metals located in the CPU, network cards, and other parts. The refinery will process the parts and effect recovery of the refined metal, at which point you can receive payment or the bullion itself.